The solar energy industry is in an upward trajectory globally. An energy source that was a reserve for the rich in the 1970s is affordable for most homes today. The prices for products and installation services have fallen over the years, and PV modules’ efficiency has increased. Solar energy statistics project that the industry will be the primary source of energy by 2050.
Over the last 7 years, solar power has ranked among the top contributors of new gigawatts of energy added. Currently, there are over 10 GW of solar modules installed every year since 2018.
California is the leading region in solar energy installation in the USA. The state has installed over 28 GW of solar energy. Texas is among the top regions in the growth of solar power. Globally, China is the biggest solar electricity producer, with the current generation surpassing the 200 gigawatts mark in 2019.
General Solar Energy Stats & Facts
At the end of 2019, the global solar energy generation was around 578 GW. The capacity is slightly above 25% of the total renewable energy harnessing in the world. The global renewable energy production is over 2,500 GW.
According to Our World in Data, renewable energy represents 11% of global power consumption. Solar energy contributes approximately 2% of the power produced in the world. The percentage is relatively low, right? But where are we coming from?
A decade ago, the global solar energy generation was 40 GW- this is less than what Germany generates currently. That was less than 0.5% of the electricity consumed in the world. Projections show that solar energy will contribute almost half of the renewable energy consumed in the USA.
Renewable energy has created jobs for more than 11 million people working in the industry. The industry employs engineers, assemblers, installers, and salespeople. As the sector gains growth momentum, we will see more employees joining it.
In 2018, the solar energy industry was worth more than $50 billion. Over the next 6 years, the sector is expected to grow 4 fold and exceed the $200 billion mark. The compound annual growth rate over the next 6 years is expected to be slightly above 25%.
PV modules have a lifespan of approximately 30 years if they are well-maintained. Most solar companies offer average warranties of 25 years. Therefore, you have a free energy guarantee for 20 years after the payback period, which is approximately 10 years for a 5 kW solar panel system.
The first solar panel by Charles Fritts in 1886 had an efficiency of less than 1%. In the 1950s, the efficiency of PV modules had increased to around 6%. In the early 2000s, the most efficient solar panels were 15%. Today, some modules can do 40% efficiency, although they do not make economic sense because of the high production costs.
Solar Energy Stats in the USA
In the United States, the total solar energy production was around 75 GW in 2019. The installation is expected to hit the 100 GW mark in 20221. Currently, solar energy generation is slightly above 90 GW.
The cost of solar modules in 2019 was less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. This was a significant drop from 2010 when the price of solar energy was $0.2 kWh. Projections show that solar energy costs will keep decreasing as more efficient PV modules and energy storage batteries get into the market.
The solar energy industry is a massive job creator in the United States. Over 240,000 people are working in the sector, and numbers are expected to keep increasing. According to SEIA solar energy statistics, the industry is worth more than $20 billion in the United States.
Community solar power is also growing steadily with an increase from less than 1 GW in 2017 to more than 1.3 GW currently. The output is enough to run over 250,000 homes. Most of the states in the USA have at least one communal solar project. In 2019, solar energy had the highest contribution of all energy units added in the United States at 40%.
Solar Energy in Numbers: Texas
Texas has so far installed approximately 4.6 GW of solar energy. The state has shown high potential in solar energy installation. According to statistics from Project Sunroof data explorer (November 2020), there are over 14,000 existing solar panel systems in Texas. The region has solar energy viability of approximately 90%.
Texas solar power potential can eliminate 80 million metric tons of carbon dioxide if fully achieved. This would be equivalent to growing over 2 billion trees for 10 years. Comparatively, this equates to taking close to 17 million vehicles from our roads.
According to Solar Reviews, Texas has more than 270 solar energy companies. The state has more than 50 utility-sized solar farms that supply electricity to the locals.
The solar energy industry is growing fast. Over the last 10 years, the costs of products and installation services have fallen drastically. Consequently, more homeowners and businesses can afford PV modules that can sustain their daily consumption. These solar energy statistics are evident enough that the sector is overtaking conventional fuels like coal and fossil fuels.